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Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset

embeddable linux kernel sub set, embeddable linux kernel sub set in r
The Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset ELKS, formerly known as Linux-8086, is a Unix-like operating system kernel It is a subset of the Linux kernel, intended for 16-bit computers with limited processor and memory resources such as machines powered by Intel 8086 and compatible microprocessors not supported by 32-bit Linux


  • 1 Features and compatibility
  • 2 History
  • 3 Current status and usage
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Features and compatibilityedit

ELKS is free software and available under the GNU General Public License GPL It can work with early 16-bit x86 8086, 80186 and 80286 computers like IBM PC compatible systems, and in virtual 8086 mode, a feature of the 32-bit Intel 80386 and later CPUs found in newer machines Another useful area are single board microcomputers, intended as educational tools for "homebrew" projects hardware hacking, as well as embedded controller systems eg Automation2

ELKS also runs on Psion 3a and 3aR SIBO SIxteen Bit Organiser PDAs with NEC V30 CPUs,23 providing another possible field of operation gadget hardware, if ported to such a platform This effort was called ELKSibo4

Native ELKS programs may run emulated with Elksemu, allowing 8086 code to be used under Linux-i3865 An effort to provide ELKS with an Eiffel compliant library also exists6


Development of Linux-8086 started in 1995 by Linux kernel developers Alan Cox and Chad Page as a fork of the standard Linux By early 1996 the project was renamed ELKS Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset, and in 1997 the first website wwwelksecssotonacuk/ offline, Archived September 24, 2001, at the Wayback Machine was created ELKS version 0063 followed on August 8 that same year On June 22, 1999, ELKS release 0077 was available, the first version able to run a graphical user interface the Nano-X Window System On July 21, ELKS booted on a Psion PDA with SIBO architecture ELKS 0082 came out on January 10, 2000 By including the SIBO port, it became the first official version running on other computer hardware than the original 8086 base On March 3 that year, the project was registered on SourceForge, the new website being elkssourceforgenet

On January 6, 2001, Cox declared ELKS "basically dead"7 Nonetheless, release 0084 came along on June 17, 2001, Charilaos Harry Kalogirou added TCP/IP networking support seven days later, and in the same year ELKS reached 0090 on November 17 On April 20, 2002, Kalogirou added virtual memory support with disk swapping capability, followed nine days later by ELKS release 010, considered the first beta version8 By end of the year, on December 18, the EDE Elks Distribution Edition, a distribution based on the ELKS kernel, itself version 005, is released9 January 6, 2003, brought ELKS 012, an update to 013 followed on May 3, 2006, the first official release after a long hiatus in development8

A development into FlightLinux, a real-time operating system for spacecrafts, once was planned, but the project it was intended for UoSAT-12 eventually settled on the qCF operating system from Quadron Corporation instead10

Current status and usageedit

Since January 2012 ELKS is again under development The CVS repository was migrated to Git in February 2012, and numerous patches from the Linux-8086 mailing list were committed to the new repository Version 014 came out on February 19, 2012, released by Jody Bruchon in memory of Riley Williams, a former co-developer It included updated floppy disk images, fixing compilation bugs of the previous version and removing unused codes11 On May 10, 2012, BusyELKS was added to the repository by Bruchon in an attempt to replace stand-alone binaries and to take advantage of shared code ELKS does not support shared libraries BusyBox-like binaries attempt to save space with symbolic links, eliminating redundant chunks of code, and are combining separate programs into one bigger binary12 On November 14, 2013, project development moved to GitHub13

More than 30 developers have contributed to this project since the fork in 1995 As of March 2015, development of the ELKS project is once again active, reaching a milestone 1,000 source code commits on March 8, 2015

See alsoedit

  • Free software portal
  • IBM Personal Computer
  • Psion 3
  • Commodore C286-LT
  • Toshiba T1000LE
  • Toshiba T1100 Plus
  • Toshiba T1600
  • HP 200LX
  • TinyLinux


  1. ^ "COPYING file on github" 
  2. ^ a b Introduction to ELKS
  3. ^ Information on SIBO at the Wayback Machine archived October 21, 2001
  4. ^ Information on ELKSibo at the Wayback Machine archived March 27, 2005
  5. ^ Elksemu man page
  6. ^ Implementation of ELKS Eiffel library
  7. ^ January 6, 2001, status update by Alan Cox at the Wayback Machine archived September 20, 2001
  8. ^ a b Older release information, eg on ELKS 010, the first Beta
  9. ^ Announce of the EDE 005 release
  10. ^ Linux-8086: Flight Linux
  11. ^ ELKS release 014
  12. ^ BusyELKS introduction
  13. ^ Info on ELKS' GitHub move

External linksedit

  • Official ELKS page on GitHub
  • Official ELKS development tools page on GitHub
  • Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset on SourceForgenet
  • Elksemu, part of development tools on GitHub

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